10 December 2012

Zambia: Luena Farm Bloc Project Stalls

THE establishment of 100,000-hectare Luena Farm Bloc in Kawambwa District has stalled because of delays to release funds allocated for the project.

The farm bloc is to cater for a multi-billion Kwacha sugarcane plantation, a process plant and out-grower scheme but the project has stalled due to delays in the release of funds for financing of the opening up of the area.

Both Kawamba District Farmers Association (KDFA) and the area District Agriculture Coordinator (DACO) Samson Chipeta confirmed the development in separate interviews.

KDFA coordinator Charles Luwapangwena said out of the K1.4 billion allocated to the project this year, only K400 million was released for demarcation of the sugarcane plantation, farm plots and opening up of the area.

He said the Luena Farm Bloc was supposed to be the province's largest single industry of great economic benefit after the collapse of Kawambwa Tea Company but the implementation process was slow.

Mr Luwapangwena said the Government has over the years been doing its best to see that the Luena Farm Bloc becomes operational but it was failing to take off because the funds were not being released.

He said the local farming community and several foreign investors who had express interest in investing in the project were disappointed with the failure to open up the land for development by the relevant Government wings.

Mr Chipeta confirmed that there was slow release of funds by the Ministry of Finance.

Mr Chipeta said of the planned 919 farm plots and the 10,000 hectares sugar plantation and process plant, and two 5,000-hectare farms, which were supposed to be demarcated on the farm bloc, only 142 farm plots had been demarcated.

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